As more information continues to be revealed about the phone hacking scandal surrounding the News of the World, and as Rupert Murdoch decides to end the paper with its final edition this coming Sunday, online publisher Populis has released its findings that reveal that the scandal may serve as a catalyst for a media revolution of sorts.
The revelations about the British newspaper revealed that it had hired investigators to actually hack cellphones and intercept voice messages of various celebrities, and even in one case the voicemail of a girl that had been murdered.
The tabloid was famous for underhanded tactics in obtaining the latest juicy gossip about celebrities, but the phone hacking scandal set citizens, politicians and other authorities hot on the heels of the beleaguered newspaper.
Arrests and Rumors of Corruption
Six people have been arrested so far in connection with the scandal, and many observers are claiming that payments took place between authorities and the newspaper, essentially purchasing positive coverage for political purposes. The charges against the newspaper are so serious and wide in scope that Rupert Murdoch has chosen to completely shut down the paper.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the NOTW was – at least at one point – the largest newspaper in the world. Its sensationalist content and swift ability to get the latest dirt on celebrities served it well, and built it up into one of Rupert Murdoch’s largest assets in the media.
As of Sunday, that asset will be ended. Company employees have already received their 90 day notices, and are left trying to pick up the pieces from a scandal that most employees knew nothing about.
Mainstream Media is Losing Public Trust
According to online publisher Populis, this latest news and the subsequent closure of NOTW is going to serve as a catalyst to further feed the mistrust that much of the public has for “traditional” media outlets that are typically run by corporate interests.
As part of its research study, Populis randomly interviewed over 2,000 UK citizens, and discovered that 44 percent reported losing trust in traditional media because of the scandal, and many of those respondents also said that they would be seeking out newer media publishers to follow.
Luca Ascana, a co-founder of Populis, explained the organization’s findings as follows:
“Rightly or wrongly, we’re clearly seeing the broader traditional media establishment being tarred with the same brush as the NOTW on this issue and, even with the announcement of the closure of the NOTW, we expect to see a lasting impact on the authority of many media brands that have been around for decades, or even hundreds of years. Conversely, the authority of new media outlets has been growing for some time, with consumers welcoming the fresh voices and a broader range of specialist content that bloggers and independent publishers can provide.”
What many observers are now saying is that as this level of mistrust toward modern traditional media outlets climbs, consumers will be turning to alternative news in far greater numbers than ever before – seeking out the truth in the form of independent news sites and even individual bloggers.
The general public is starting to realize that lots of income and huge corporate sponsors do not equate to truthful and accurate news reporting. In fact, what the NOTW scandal is making clear is that not only do corporate interests place bias upon the reporting of news, but the financial demands to increase “the bottom line” tends to override journalistic integrity and ethics.
Populis reports that this fragmentation of the news media audience will filter down into higher reader numbers for smaller news publishers and blogs, and ultimately more advertising companies turning away from major media outlets and focusing instead on niche websites that serve specific audiences.
This may be more bad news for major media, but it is very good news for independent bloggers and citizen journalists.
Image Credit: ReutersOriginally published on TopSecretWriters.com